Srsly?

In an online forum about grammar, one person complained about bad grammar in texting:

What makes people think it’s all right to drop all usage and grammar rules when texting or messaging? If I see one more “u” I’ll scream. Ugh. Don’t write how you talk. It makes you look like an idiot. I don’t have a qwerty keyboard; I have a flip phone & I text using T9. I care about the language enough not to butcher it no matter what I’m doing.

(Note: I didn’t know what T9 was, so if she was complaining that abbreviations and slang make texts hard to understand, she lost me.)

First response: I ONLY do it when I’m texting, mostly to save my thumbs, I’m getting old enough to have minor arthiritis (sic). But unless I am texting, I find it disgusting!

Second response: I think it’s lazy, inarticulate and shows the all too usual disrespect that “my time (and my thumbs) are more important than yours”. (sic)

(Note: my decision to save time and energy by shortening texts has nothing to do with someone else’s thumbs. They can choose to abbreviate or not abbreviate—it’s got nothing to do with me.)

Third  response: I understand if people do it when in a hurry, but regardless, it makes me cringe. Myuncle (sic) texts like an illiterate teen: “HULLO NIECE HOW IS U? I IS WELL THX & BTW I IS HERE COM DWN STARS”  People criticize me for texting full words but I don’t have a clue why oneshouldn’t (sic) text fully if they have the time for it… (sic)

Fourth response: I agree with the OP. There’s a difference when the comma is misplaced or a couple of words are’t (sic) spelled correctly. I am OK with that. Completely haywire language isn’t easy to read and you can miss the meaning of what they (sic) person is trying to say. That’s what pisses me off. I can see that the use of contracted and different spellings of words are a means of seperating (sic) the in crowd from the rest of the users of a group or site. 

My thoughts: I don’t like “u” and I avoid it even in tweets because you can always delete something or use a shorter word elsewhere to fit in the extra two letters. That’s just a personal preference, though: I’m fine with plenty of other text abbreviations and slang terms, especially those that are pretty common, like “Tx” or “TTYL.” What one person said about saving his/her thumbs is probably a legitimate concern. I’m in my late 40s and my thumbs start to hurt after a while, too—I often text a lot while on my commute to and from work. Texting from a cell phone is supposed to be quick and casual, and I’m all for saving time & energy.

There are people I text whom I’d never use abbreviations with, though. It depends on the situation. if I’m on my cell phone in a “non-texting” context, I do my best to spell things out (like when I’m using my cell phone to reply to an email).

I expect people to spell things correctly and to not abbreviate in business correspondence, in creative writing that they’re sharing with others, and in other important pieces of writing. I expect that kind of writing to be edited and clean. But I can’t get bent out of shape about imperfect spelling or shortcuts in a casual context. Go ahead n abbrevi8.

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